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The Truck Is Late


The truck has not yet arrived, and it should have.

Whether for a pick-up or a delivery, whether with a scheduled appointment, a specified arrival window, or a ‘be-here-by’ time, the truck is late. This is, or soon will be, a problem.

We may have already advised you the truck is running late, and we may have given you a revised ETA, which the truck has also missed.


  1. Call us, and we will attempt to find out where the truck is, it’s reason for being late, and it’s expected ETA.
  2. We will ensure the driver has your correct address, and the best route in to your location.
  3. Based on the truck’s updated ETA and your ability to take it when it does arrive, you have 3 options:
    • Accept the truck when it arrives (if this is possible, it is the best choice for all concerned);
    • Have the late truck arrive and wait until you can take it at your convenience, with the understanding that there will be no waiting time fees (if you choose this option, it would be helpful if you are able to estimate the length of the wait);
    • Turn away the late truck, and ask us to make new arrival arrangements much later in the same day, or on the next day. Depending on the new arrangements, this may end up resulting in us having to source a new truck for you.
  4. Based on your choice, we will advise the carrier to keep coming, or we will establish a new arrival time or window with them. Or we will find a new truck.

But… there are limits:

Please understand that, while we will do our very best, there are limits to what we, or the carrier can do. We will not ask that the driver drive faster than the speed limit, we will not ask that the driver drivers beyond legal hours, we cannot make the driver abandon pick-ups or deliveries ahead of yours, we cannot plow the snow off the highway, and we cannot make the traffic congestion disappear.

And… no phone calls to the driver:

And we will not call the driver in the cab, even if we have a cell number: it takes 20 – 30 minutes for a driver to get a heavy truck off the highway, get it safely parked to take a phone call, wrestle with the temptation to run in and pick up a fresh coffee, and get back on the highway and up to highway speed. All that accomplishes is to confirm what you already knew (that the truck is late), at the cost of making the truck’s arrival at your location even 20 – 30 minutes later. Instead, most carriers use in-cab electronics specifically designed for voice and/or text communications with their drivers, and most drivers will not answer their personal cell phones while driving.


There are many circumstances that can conspire to make a truck late, almost all of which are outside the driver’s or the carrier’s control. Bad weather; congested roads; highway construction; accident back-ups; border queues; delays at previous shippers or receivers; mechanical breakdown; illness; dispatch error; incorrect driving directions: each of these may play a role.

The number one cause of trucks being late? Other shippers and receivers. The truck that is coming to you, is coming from somewhere. So, if the shipper or receiver at “somewhere”, or at a “somewhere” before that, delayed the truck, then the truck cannot help but be late arriving to you. Again, through no fault of yours, or the driver, or the carrier, or Copper Run, the truck is late, and it is of little consolation to you that a tardy shipper/receiver from “somewhere” will be paying a waiting time charge for creating what turned into a delay for you.

The second most frequent cause of trucks being late is poor highway conditions (severe weather, construction constriction, unexpected congestion, collisions/wrecks). Again, these are circumstances over which no-one, not you, not the driver, not the carrier, and not Copper Run, have any control.

Please also understand that the driver’s hours behind the wheel are limited by law, and the law sees no difference between hours spent driving at 60 mph, or hours spent crawling through congestion or snow at 15 mph, or even hours spent sitting on the highway not moving at all while a major wreck up ahead is cleared. So it can and does happen that a driver, who set out with hours to spare to arrive at your location, finds that he/she has used up all of his legal driving hours in slow traffic, and has to take a mandatory rest period prior to arriving at your location.

And the third most frequent cause of late trucks is poor resource management by the carrier: they are trying to do too much with too little. Because the demand for services fluctuates daily, every carrier will experience occasional capacity squeezes. Copper Run tries to identify and avoid those carriers for whom capacity squeezes are a chronic condition.

Only very, very rarely is a late arrival the fault of the driver, so don’t unload on the driver. Remember, the driver is being paid by the mile driven, and earns nothing for sitting anywhere, even for normal waiting at a shipper’s or receiver’s dock. And because of the way the safety laws that govern driver hours are written, time sitting does count against available driving hours, and lost time can never be made up.

So every en-route delay costs the driver wages, even when the delay is not his/her fault. So it is very much in the driver’s financial interest to be on time: for the driver, arriving late at your dock today will mean less income tax to pay at the end of the year, but it will also mean less rent money available at the end of the month.

And yelling, or yelling louder, will not cause a truck to arrive any sooner. And calling a driver to tell him he is late, or even to ask where he is, will not make him less late in these circumstances – in fact, it will make him more late. And telling the driver after he arrives that he is late will accomplish nothing – the driver already has that information. In short, there is nothing that Copper Run, or for that matter, anybody else, can do to get a late truck to arrive sooner.

The best thing to do, if this is a pick-up and it is possible to do so, is to load that late truck as quickly as possible, in order to not make the late driver any later, in order to improve the late driver’s chances of still making the delivery to your receiver on time.


We understand the problems that can result from a truck being late:

  • You may not be able to take the truck if and when it does arrive, because you have other trucks scheduled;
  • If the truck is much later, your dock staff will have ended their shift and you can’t / won’t pay overtime;
  • You have staged the freight for pick-up in the loading area, and now you need it off your dock because it is in the way of other freight;
  • You need the freight that is coming on the truck, because without it, you will have to shut down a production line;
  • You have other trucks, probably customers’, already there waiting for the freight that is on the late truck;
  • For any or all of the reasons above, you are frustrated, and somebody may be angry;

Alternatively, while it may not be not a huge deal right now that the truck is late, Copper Run has given you arrival information that has turned out to be incorrect, and you would like to know the correct, updated information.

Typically, the late truck is loaded or unloaded as soon as is practically possible. In many cases, that means as soon as the truck arrives. In other cases, the driver may have to wait until a door becomes free, or until he/she can be fit in amongst the on-time appointment trucks, or perhaps even until the next morning.

All things being equal, taking the late truck is generally the best option. It gets the freight closer to being where it physically needs to be, it gets the freight closer to being able to get back on schedule, it gets the truck finished and gone, it allows the shipper/receiver to move forward with your next task (which just might be going home), and there is nothing to be gained by making the truck wait just for the sake of making it wait.

No waiting time charges will be assessed by or paid to late trucks.